Michigan legislators just stripped Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of the emergency powers she freely wielded during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state Senate approved the Unlock Michigan initiative on July 15. On Thursday, the Republican-controlled state House passed the measure with a 60-48 vote largely along party lines.
“Yesterday was a great day for Michigan, and yesterday was anything but partisan politics,” Michigan Congresswoman Lisa McClain told “Fox & Friends First” on Friday. “It was the voice of the people saying enough is enough.”
Whitmer utilized powers that were granted by the Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945, allowing her to enact significant health and safety restrictions in the early days of the pandemic.
Whitmer faced immense pushback and public protests against lockdowns in April. Armed protesters gathered at the state’s Capitol to demand Whitmer repeal stay-at-home orders.
The governor had repelled a similar push to limit her powers in March 2020 when Senate Bill 1 made its way to her desk: The bill aimed to amend the state’s public health code by limiting orders from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to no more than 28 days of effect unless approved by both houses of the State Legislature.
“Unfortunately, epidemics are not limited to 28 days,” Whitmer said in a veto letter, according to MLive.com. “We should not so limit our ability to respond to them.”
The bill would have applied retroactively to all emergency orders issued on or after Nov. 15, 2020.